If you're 5+ years into your career, chances are you've been asked to meet over a cup of coffee. While I typically say yes to these coffee chats -- I think it's good karma energy to give back -- you have to be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best. For those looking to chat someone's ear off, here's a guide to not pissing them off in the process.
Many moms are wakened on Mother's Day by an ominous clattering in the kitchen: your loving-hearted children preparing to surprise you with coffee or hot chocolate in bed. There's also that cinnamon toast or oatmeal positively doused with sugar. What many moms don't realize is that such meals usually come courtesy of a whole crew of children.
On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I witnessed a "revolution," though thankfully not the kind that culminates in a coup d'état. What I saw was the so-called "micro-mill revolution" -- a new way in which coffee is processed and sold, that could help transform the way specialty coffee is traded, to the betterment of all involved.
The concept of sustainability is not just a feel-good marketing concept; it is both a moral and functional imperative. And so, to make the financial case for paying farmers more is simple: if we don't do it now, there won't be coffee to sell later. To make the humanitarian case for it is just as simple: coffee farmers deserve better.
While not exactly a certification, like Fair Trade or the Rainforest Alliance, direct trade is really more of a loose concept: remove as many of the middlemen as possible and make sure the most marginalized and impoverished people in the coffee chain, the coffee farmers themselves, are given a bigger piece of the pie.